Vancouver parking: relatively cheap and easy

This week’s council proposal to reduce both minimum and maximum requirements for parking in new developments sparked dismay at the Downtown Vancouver BIA and among some others worried about negative business impacts.

But is Vancouver parking really so hard to come by?  Trips to the downtown core have declined seven percent in the past decade. Surface parking spots dropped from 20,000 in 1990 to 8,000 in 2007.  About 3,000 more are likely to disappear in the next 20 years. The city has been seeking to maintain the total number of spots, underground and on the surface,  at the 1997 level of 34,000 commuter spaces.

So far, according to this report from Colliers International, Vancouver’s parking rates remain relatively cheap, right in the middle of the pack in Canada. Calgary’s median rate for monthly unreserved parking was $428 last year. Toronto and Montreal were at $290 and Vancouver was fourth at $218.40, just ahead of Edmonton.

Only 50 percent of Vancouver’s downtown garages have waiting lists,  well below the national average (65 percent). The waiting time for a spot is only three months, the shortest in the 11 markets surveyed. Despite the brutal costs in Calgary, that car-friendly town has waiting lists for spots at 100 percent of its garages.

Vancouver is well back in the race for the globe’s most expensive parking, not even in the top 25. The most expensive space on earth is in the City of London, $1,66.87 a month. Milan ($338.49) and even Podgorica, Montenegro ($346.19) are far ahead of us in this questionable competition.

Council approved the changes with one exception: it sought more consultation on the reduction in the maximum number of spots. Council also asked for more work on bicycle parking standards.